New Savage Rifle: .243 or .223?


April 1, 2007, 08:24 PM
The nice thing about when tax season is when the tax refund checks come rolling out. The only hard part is deciding what to buy. :)

I have been looking at getting either a CZ or a Savage rifle lately and I have decided on the Savage for the AccuTrigger, the price, and the accuracy potential. I already have a .270 and have not been shooting it much due to recoil after 40+ rounds.

So the only decision now is whether to buy a .243 Winchester, .22-250, or .223 Remington. Ballistically the .243 gets the nod for velocity and bullet weight but the .223 is more efficient with less powder etc. The .243 and .223 have the widest range of bullet choices and weights. I have read of the .22-250 burning through barrels quickly compared to other centerfire cartridges. Two other factors I have been reading about that burns through barrels is large overbore cartridges and velocity.

So my question is what caliber should I get? I currently load all my ammo so cost is a very minor consideration. I am looking for one that is versatile, accurate, a good plinking cartridge, flat-shooting, long barrel-life, and fun to shoot.

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April 1, 2007, 08:31 PM
.223 will obviously be much cheaper to shoot, or will allow you more trigger time.

Since you already have a .270, I would probably give the nod to the .223.

April 1, 2007, 08:35 PM
I would go with the .223 Remington.......:D

April 3, 2007, 12:59 AM
Kind of surprised not many people are responding to this thread/poll. There are currently 2 other threads where the originators are considering .243 deer rifles. How interesting....

April 3, 2007, 01:12 AM
I said the .243. Useful for varmints at long range on up to whitetail-sized game. You can get .223 ammo cheaper but it doesn't have the versatility of the .243. Have fun shopping with your tax refund! :D

April 3, 2007, 09:08 AM
After reading a lot I am leaning towards the .243 right now myself. Cost is not really an issue because I reload and the .223 and .243 are within a penny or two a round difference when reloaded.

April 3, 2007, 10:24 AM
I just bought a Savage American in .243 and it is one sweet shooter.

Really happy with the performance, accuracy and great trigger!


I plan to reload so cost was not much of a factor on ammo.

April 3, 2007, 08:53 PM
the 243, is unprecictable of all the carts out there, maybe the most spikey. Allways has been, and it burns bbls, just short of what a 22.250 does.

April 3, 2007, 09:04 PM
I'd vote .223. Cheaper ammunition, nice recoil, and you already have you a deer rifle. That said, my info's rather 1 sided. I'm quite familliar with the .223 and don't know too much about the .243 and the 22-250 for comparison.

April 3, 2007, 10:02 PM
I'm voting .243 Winchester.

I handload for mine and have gotten extreme pleasure shooting everything from 58-gr V-Max @ almost 4000-fps to 100-gr Cor-Lokt PSPs at 2850-fps. Once I found the right handloads I found I can shoot coyote, crow, deer and anything in between.

Just to keep things in context, I also load for my .223 rifle and while it is a real hoot and extremely accurate I cannot shoot anything over 70-gr bullets with my 1:9 twist so I consider it more of a plinking and light varmint rifle that can't double as a deer rifle.

April 3, 2007, 10:24 PM
Sitting less than a foot from me is a very new Savage Mod. 10 GXP in .22-250... I LOVE it...

sitting 10 feet from me is a custom MAuser in .243...

I LOVE the Savage, but since you seem to want/need a deer type gun, the .243 gets my nod...

I would NOT have bought the .22-250 if I hadn't had the .243 already...

AND... SOME states won't let you hunt large game with .22 caliber weapons...

April 3, 2007, 10:43 PM
I have a .223 and a .243. For hunting deer sized game, the choice is a no-brainer - .243.

But, I don't recall you stating you wanted to hunt with this rifle...and you already have a .270. So, I would go with the .223 hands down. It is a lot more pleasant to shoot, and everyone makes ammo for it (I know, you plan to reload).

But also, I find the .243 to get very wearisome to shoot off the bench more than 30-35 rounds. Remember, it is a necked down .308.

In fact, I am looking for a .223 bolt gun for the same purpose you just shoot...a lot. I want to place top-notch optics on it (Leupold VX-III), and really enjoy learning the technique of the rifle. I have tried that with my .243...but the fun doesn't last that long...


April 3, 2007, 11:28 PM
I'd go for the Savage .223 or a CZ varmint kevlar both are 1:9 twist barrels, the .243 and .22-250 would be my last choice neither has the reputation for a long and happy barrel life. It's a shame the 6mm rem. fell behind the .243 I believe it to be superior, the .257 Roberts, and 6.5x55 are other great cartridges but get left behind by most Amer. firearm manufacturers :(

April 4, 2007, 09:33 AM
The law just changed in TN last year where any centerfire rifle can be used for deer hunting. That being said if I do go deer hunting it will either be with the .270 or a .243 if I get one.

How long do barrels tend to last in .22-250 and/or the .243. I have been reading estimates of about 3000 rounds. The .270 is not much better than that if I recall correctly. The 270 might be something like 3500 but not much more than that.

As for recoil with regard to practice shooting. The .270 generates 16-20 ft-bs of recoil energy depending on how it is configured. The .243 is about 5-12 ft.-lbs depending on loading. And the .223 is 2-6 ft.-lbs. I do not recall the .22-250 recoil but it is somewhere between the .223 and .243. I calculated the recoil using a spreadsheet and the free recoil impulse equation using a light bullet max load, mid weight bullet max load, and a heavy bullet max load.

For instance the .243 with:
55 gr, 75-80 gr, and a 100 gr bullet load.

The difference between the .223 and .243 seems about negligible for about 30-40 shots at a time which is what I plan. The .270 is almost 2 the recoil of the .243.

April 4, 2007, 09:46 AM
It's hard to answer something like this without reflecting personal need, wants, prejudice and desire.:)

Having said that, my choice would still be 22.250 (for my purposes :D ), and secondly I am a .243 fan, but the .243 is a prolly a bit close to the .270 to justify that gap, so I guess the pragmatic choice would be .223.

Decisions, decisions ;)

April 4, 2007, 10:49 AM
Since you already have a .270 I would go to a .223.

April 4, 2007, 11:27 AM
than most have so far. From the little information that you have given us it sounds like you just want a hole puncher. As long as you plan on keeping the 270 you allready have a deer rifle and it would also serve you well for the occasional coyote if you ever decided to do that kind of hunting. Now you haven't even mentioned varmint hunting but, in my mind at least, highly accurate small bores are Varmint/Target rifles until of course you get into highly specialized custom rigs for BR shooting. So, I am gonna assume that what you are after is a Varmint/Target rig. So, far you have chosen wisely my son.:D The Savages are great guns and the calibers you mentioned all have the potential to be tack drivers. I'm gonna eliminate the 243 for a couple reasons, the first of which is, you allready have the 270 for any hunting chores as previously mentioned. The second reason is recoil, while the 243 is not a hard kicker it is substantially more than the 223. The third is cost of reloading, everything is going way up in price especially bullets and powder. The 107 grain 6mm Sierras are going for $23 a box through Midway while $55 grain Sierras are $15 through Midway. The 243 consumes allmost twice as much powder as the 223, and locally powders are running over $20 a pound. If you do a lot of shooting that adds up quick.

That leaves the 223 and the 22-250, so far.;) For me this is an easy choice. It has been my experience that the 223 is just so plain easy to load for, to achieve top notch accuracy. I have owned 22-250s in the past and I currently am rebarreling one of my Savages in 22-250 but, I have never been able to outshoot my 223 with any 22-250. That is not to say that they can't be plenty accurate, they can, but unless you need the extended range of the 22-250 go with the 223. Besides, it has long been my opinion that whatever the 22-250 can do the 220 Swift can do better.:evil: By the way, I have shot prairie dogs with the 223 out past 500 yards and let me tell you they got just as dead as the ones at 300. My current 223 Savage is a sub 1/2 inch gun at 100 yards. I only shoot 5 shot groups. This gun has made its share of 1/4" groups as well.

That would seem to leave you with the 223, but wait, I have another contender. You might want to think about the 204 Ruger.:D I have 2 of these right now, both Savages, and they are both sub 1/2" guns. The first one I got, shot 3 consecutive sub 3/8" groups with my very first reload. The second is not quite as good but it is still very good. It seems like they will shoot just about anything very well. Recoil is even milder than with the 223 and out past 300 yards the 204 surpasses the 223 in energy. Initially it will cost you a little more to buy brass but otherwise the cost of reloading is almost identical to the 223.

In case you were wondering I currently own 5 Savages, 3 BVSS's and 2 VLP's
and a couple of extra barrels. I say currently cause I think I am gonna own another 223 by the end of the day. My current 223 has had several thousand rounds down the tube and, oddly enough, it is a 1 in 14" twist. The new one will have the 1 in 9 twist barrel. It also has the Accu-trigger and the stainless action which my 3 BVSS's do not.

April 4, 2007, 11:41 AM
.223 has my vote!

Art Eatman
April 4, 2007, 12:16 PM
Another voice that sez since there's already a .270 on hand, go with the .223.

The .223 is plenty good for coyotes to 200, any old day. And, most any old bullet; whatever gives you good groups will ruin Ol' Wily's day. I have a little Ruger 77 Mk II with a Timney; it reliably shoots inside of one MOA, and if I'm doing my part it's 1/2 MOA for three shots.


April 4, 2007, 12:28 PM
and out past 300 yards the 204 surpasses the 223 in energy.

That depends on the load, the .223 with weights 69gr and up, and the proper bullet design will beat the .204 in energy at any range. The .204 will shoot much flatter than the .223, and if you reload the .204 would be worth a look.

April 4, 2007, 04:08 PM
After reading a few of the posts on here, I looked up the .243 Winchester in Cartridges of the World and there was a note by the author that ballistians have noted that the .243 has given erratic performance and that handloader's should be aware of that.

Has anyone had a similar experience they can share?

April 4, 2007, 05:15 PM
Hey JibJab, trust me when I say have nothing against the 233, I love it>:D If I could only own one 22 caliber centerfire, something my wife would love to mandate,:eek: I would choose the 223. As far as the heavier bullets in the 223 and retained energy past 300 yards you are probably right. I only know what I have read and it was probably based on the 55s and down. That said,
my main reasoning behind suggesting the 204 was for its lack of recoil and the incredible accuracy it is capable of. As far as varmints go the 204 is performing admirably by most accounts. I have not had a chance to shoot anything but paper with mine yet but I am hoping to plan a PD trip for late summer and at least one of the 204s will get to go and of course my 223 always gets to come along.:)

April 4, 2007, 08:54 PM
At any given time, I'm liable to be shooting .223 or .243 and if you're deer hunting, between the two, I recommend .243... my Savage is a Model 11GL.

April 4, 2007, 09:05 PM
Have you considered a .270? I have a Remington 700 ADL in .270. To me (JOMHO) = is one of the best shooting rifles I have ever owned. I stress the word owned. One of the other rifles that comes to mind is a M-14 during basic. :evil: I got to shoot along side Natinal Guard troops during my basic training at Fort Jackson SC, (remember TANK HILL in the evening it was known as drag @$$ hill). I got to qualify on a M-14 and a M -16 as well, fired expert on both course. :fire:

April 4, 2007, 09:08 PM
I already own a .270 per first post. Looking for a lighter weight caliber to practice with and/or varmint hunt with. Will have to see about the last one.

April 5, 2007, 11:26 AM
I would go with the 223,you already have a good big game rifle.Order a thousand rounds of 223 wolf ammo,lots of fun and cheap to shoot.I have shot lots of yotes with my ar and they didnt complain.

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